Free A/B and Multivariate testing tool by Google

When I first heard about the possibility of Google releasing a free version of its Optimize 360 tool a few months ago, my first reaction was “Does this mean the end of Optimizely, VWO and the range of other platforms?”

How does Google Optimize work?

Google Optimize works by creating “experiments”. This experiment can be a:

  • Multivariate Test,
  • A/B Test,
  • Or, the user can be redirected to page variations at multiple URLs

Once the experiment type has been determined, you can begin creating variants to test against. This can easily be done using the WYSIWYG editor that the platform provides. Making it efficient to make variations in titles, content, html components and CSS on both desktop and a range of mobile devices.

This can all be implemented through Google Tag Manager or as part of your universal analytics tab.

If implemented correctly, there is no flickering loading like you can experience on some split testing platforms. The modified version of the page loads seamlessly as if it were the original.

Segmenting Where Tests are Shown

The segmenting features are not too dissimilar to those you may be familiar with in Google Tag Manager. You can segment who/when tests are shown by:

  • URLs
  • Behaviour
  • Geo (City, Region, Metro, Country)
  • Browser
  • Operating System
  • Device Category
  • URL Parameters, and
  • A range of custom variables defined by JavaScript, Cookies and GTM Variables

There is also an option to segment by audience-type if you have Analytics 360. We’re really hoping that this feature comes in for non-360 users soon because of the capability to show tailored landing pages to different audiences.

Nonetheless, these segmenting options give you the following possibilities:

  • Show city-focussed landing pages based on where a user is located
  • Show customised landing pages to those who come from partner referral clicks
  • Show “welcome back” messages to returning users

Google have also provided a great resource on the different variations that you could test with this tool.

The Verdict

Overall, I’m very happy with this tool and will be excited to offer more split testing to clients in the future without the hefty price-tag that are attached to other platforms. It will be great to see if we can conduct further split testing of audience segments in the future as well. But, one step at a time! A great free release from Google that should be added to every digital marketing toolbox.

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